INTO THE PRIMITIVE - The Future Primitives (Voodoo Rhythm)
It took a few plays to work out what makes this South African garage trio such a compelling listen. The sparse, echo-ey production from straight out of 1966 is one thing, the simple songs that would do Billy Childish proud are another, but in the end it's the pure energy and urgency of the playing that's the winner.

You did read right and The Future Primitives do come from South Africa. Cape Town, the be precise. What's less obvious is that they're white guys and they have better hair than Wolfmother. Better still, they sound nothing like Wolfmother. This is garage rock with a trace of '50s greaser rock with lashings of psychedelic twang thrown in.

Did I say they have not just simple but great songs? There's the Roky-like "Evil", the off-kilter pop of "In And Out" and the feedback-and-jungle-drums-laden title track to name just three. The stuttering dissonance and "ah-ah-ah" chorus of "You Lied" highlights another gem while "Tried To Let Go" is a potential beat anthem. Thee Milkshakes cover ("For She") is nailed perfectly.

Putting aside the exotic origins of the band (and South Africa does have a garage rock/punk scene - it's just not that obvious), we should judge this album on its merits. Which are considerable to these ears, despite constant exposure to this sort of music to the point of occasional overload. The Future Primitives aren't so much breaking new ground outside of their homeland as taking garage rock back to some of its familiar stamping grounds, by embarking on a tour of Europe in September 2013. More power to them.

Recorded live to tape with a few microphones and analogue gear, "Into The Primitive" was always going to find a spiritual home on Voodoo Rhythm, the kings of lo-fi rock skronk. If their ouevre is your bag, you're probably going to take to this. - The Barman


 

SONGS WE TAUGHT OURSELVES - The Future Primitives (Casbah Records/Dangerhouse Skylab)
The Future Primitives don't believe in airs and graces. Their mission on this album is simple. They locked themselves in a garage and belted out a baker's dozen of songs by their favourite bands - who happen to be have names like The Mummies, Thee Milkshakes and Link Wray. Sounds like a party to me.

Previously available as a download only, "Songs…" is now a big, thick slab of black vinyl as well and it's proof that garage rock know no borders. Their label. Casbah, is French and The Future Primitives are a trio from Capetown, South Africa. This is the second of their three official albums (one's to be released soon - on Voodoo Rhythm, fittingly enough) and they play an appealingly loose and raw strain of garage-psych.

Vocalist Johnny Tex sings in a quavering, withering voice with guitar tone to match. If Heino Reitief knows any funky and fancy bass-lines he ain't letting them show here. Which is just as well. Playing The Haunted's "1-2-5" any other way than banged-out and basic simply wouldn't be right. Ya gotta dig Johnny singing the fuzz lead guitar part. The music's mostly ungarnished except for the occasional application of cheesy keys.

The one-sheet (a fancy word for a cheat sheet that comes with review copies of records) advises that The Future Primitives' version of "Zig Zag Wanderer" is a radio-friendly track. Not to my mind anywhere soon - but being off-limits to mainstream programmers is exactly what's to like about it. Commercial radio is the preserve of the dull and gormless anyway. Podcasters with any sense will take to this record like car-jackers to a convertible with the top down.

Let's be honest (again) and state up front that if Lou Reed hadn't written it when he was in jingle-writing servitude, pre-Velvets, "Do The Ostrich" probably would have not even amounted to a drop of bad smelling body odour on the forehead of an obsessive record collector's brow. In the hands of The Future Primitives it's an ugly piece of aural treasure, a song to be played at volume high enough to curdle milk.

Lots of people have tackled "We Sell Soul" by Roky's pre-Elevators band The Spades. The Future Primitives have churned out one of the better versions. They've even nodded to Australia with a cover of the Bo-Weevils' ultra-trashy "Have You Been To Mars" that pips the original for lack of finesse. Which is not to question either band's competence - you pretty well have to un-learn how to play music to do this one well.

Buy a copy here. - The Barman




 

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